In ancient Greece, the idea of a good life was one built on affection for others, making a contribution of some kind, and having the poise to think carefully; qualities within the reach of anyone. Today it seems that you need a commodity to push, the celebrity to get column inches, and lots of money. This is not a criticism of success, fame or wealth, but it is a questioning of our values. What kind of world do we want to live in, and how can we create that world?

The word essay comes from the old French word for ‘trial’, and Michel de Montaigne, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Johnston and George Orwell all used this form to make their own exploration of ethics, and the events they witnessed. I have no pretence to their levels of skill and knowledge, but like them, am interested in discovering a feeling of truth about what lies behind the current changes in all aspects of society and the world.

To do this I’ve brought together facts, reasoning, and principles of secular ethics, to explore both the public ideals and the reality, that each of us now face as global citizens.